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Anita Hill: New Kavanaugh investigation is necessary

Hill doubts Senate staffers "are qualified to carry out this investigation in a neutral fashion."
Image: Anita Hill
Law professor Anita Hill attends the commencement ceremony at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut on May 27, 2018.Eduardo Munoz Alvarez / Getty Images file

Anita Hill on Wednesday lent support to the accuser of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, offering her own experience before the Senate Judiciary Committee 27 years ago as evidence that the process of airing sexual allegations will not be fair.

"My belief is that, without an investigation, there cannot be an effective hearing," Hill told Judy Woodruff of "PBS NewsHour."

Accuser Christine Blasey Ford has stood fast against a much-touted Monday committee hearing without the FBI investigating her claim first. The California research psychologist said Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her more than 30 years ago at a drunken high school party.

He denies the allegation and, according to Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, believes Ford has him mixed up with someone else.

Hill alleged that when she worked for Clarence Thomas before he became a Supreme Court Justice in 1991 he repeatedly asked her on dates and tried to engage in conversations about sex and adult video. When the all-male Senate Judiciary Committee aired the allegations the focus was on Hill and lewd details about what she recalled.

During the 1991 hearing, Hill said, Arlen Specter, the late Senator from Pennsylvania, "wasn't interested really in pursuing the truth of my testimony, but was more interested in discrediting me."

A repeat of that spectacle is "not sufficient," said Hill, now a law, social policy and gender studies professor at Brandeis University.

But Republicans want to fast-track Kavanaugh, a nominee chosen by President Trump, before the home stretch for November midterms that threatens GOP majorities in Congress.

"I know what their staffs' qualifications are," Hill said of the judiciary committee. "But I doubt that they are qualified to carry out this investigation in a neutral fashion.

"I think it's ironic that we have senators who are deciding about who is going to sit on the highest court, but they can't really put partisanship aside long enough to put together a fair hearing to get to the truth about this situation," she said.